Marketing is about making your business visible, easy and helpful. It opens your virtual doors to the world, invites customers in and says, “Hey, look around, take your time – no rush. Just enjoy the experience and have a browse”.
It’s like walking into your favourite bookshop and feeling the weight of the world just fall off your shoulders.
To create this feeling of peaceful relaxation, here are a few handy tips and warnings to be aware of:
- Make your customers’ experience as simple and straightforward as possible.
- Avoid using ghastly colours on your website (black on purple is my all-time favourite). Don’t SHOUT! Don’t use industry gobbledegook and don’t make customers search for stuff – unless you want them to leave.
- Learn about your competition (and allies) by attending every networking event you can. If you’re shy, they usually have ‘facilitators’ who will gently steer you away from the wall and towards people.
- I went to an event recently and came across some budding entrepreneurs who had no business cards, no website, no social media accounts and no phone number …I haven’t seen them again.
- Please don’t refer to your customers as ‘prospects’.
- I went on holiday recently and the hotel owner referred to me as a ‘punter’. I know that’s what I am, but still fondly imagined that I was an actual person in his eyes – ’til that point.
- Do advertise in the local paper or free magazines.
- However, it’s best to avoid simple spelling mistakes, bad grammar and pictures that have nothing to do with your product. Remember, you’re trying to make life easy for your customer – not confuse them with double negatives and pictures of kittens.
- Design and distribute flyers (or pay someone else to do it). Find yourself a friendly graphic designer and see if you can barter services – hey, they’re business people too.
- Don’t try to do it yourself, unless you’re good at it. These days, poor design and layout will mark your business out as mediocre and just …meh.
- Use social media to get the word out. This is an excellent way to, not only mention your own business, but reciprocate if a business has kindly mentioned yours.
- Write a blog. As a blogger myself, I find that writing 300-500 words per blog on any subject, can be an excellent way to keep potential customers interested in what you do.
- If you just haven’t got the blogging ‘gene’ in you – find someone who has (ahem).
- Build a website. This is an excellent way of having static ‘About’, ‘Home’ and ‘Contact’ pages to tell others what you’re about, who you are, and how to get in contact. You can either build a free site or invest in a purpose-built one.
- Potential customers WILL ask if you’ve got one – indulge them.
- Emphasise how your product benefits customers (and how choosing your merchandise can transform them from being “just” a customer, to an extremely savvy customer).
- Look at any advert on television, they often use this trick – don’t be afraid to try it as well.
- What is your USP (Unique Selling Point)? Is it different to what other local businesses are offering? Does it need to be? What can you do better?
There is a lot of excellent advertising in the world, but also some real howlers. Make sure your business doesn’t make the same mistakes.
… most of all, enjoy the process.
Sam Horsey is a journalist and copywriter. To get in contact – Phone 07549 031533. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org